Caribean Boy proved too good for odds-on favourite Fiddlerontheroof in the Ladbrokes Committed To Safer Gambling Novices’ Chase at Newbury.
Only three went to post for the Grade Two event, but they were all classy individuals with Paul Nicholls’ Getaway Trump making up the trio.
Caribean Boy (100-30) took full advantage of his last opportunity at novice level, as the Nicky Henderson-trained gelding will now have to move up to full company due to his victory over fences at Haydock in February.
The six-year-old jumped well out in front and even though he was headed in the straight by Fiddlerontheroof, Daryl Jacob always looked confident and he quickened away again after the last to win by four lengths.
Caribean Boy is entered in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham on December 12 and Betfair cut him to 8-1 from 10s for that event.
Henderson said: “He was good with his jumping, but he always was to be fair. Unfortunately his novice career got stopped, but at least we were able to go on until now as this was his last day as a novice.
“He is a gross horse and getting him fit is not an easy game. Lewis (Morgan) does him and Mister Coffey as well and he does a good job with them. He is a little bit heavier than some of the lads in the yard and they have to work a bit harder, which probably isn’t a bad thing.
“The thing that has surprised me is that he is straight enough to do that. He is not a horse that roars around the place. His strength is that he is a great big bull of a horse and he does always jump and he loves doing that.
“We chatted at breakfast with Daryl and we said when he won at Haydock last season, he got to the front and bowled along and jumped. This horse really likes it up there, but he doesn’t have to be there.
“The other thing I have to say is that I think he is a better horse in soft ground, as he loves really soft ground. He keeps up a really good gallop that would test quite a lot of horses.”
Henderson expressed some doubt about heading to Cheltenham next month, but a Festival run is very much in his sights.
He added: “I think the Ryanair is the obvious race. Daryl doesn’t think we need to go further and he thinks you could bring him back to two and he would step on it even more in heavy ground. I don’t think there is any need to do that as I think two and a half is perfect for him.
“It (Caspian Caviar) might be quick enough, but I’ll talk to Simon (Munir), Isaac (Souede, owners) and Anthony Bromley (racing manager), who will have some fantastic idea I’m sure.
“It’s only two weeks and it would probably not be the right thing to be doing. He has had a good blow and he took a blow when the other horse joined him, Daryl had to sit still for a moment and he then took a blow in the run in.
“If you are going to get the benefit of the race, you are not going to get it in two weeks’ time. That would do (Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton in January). You wouldn’t want to go there on quick ground, but January it should be all right.”